A talk presented by Paul Kaplan (Purchase College, NY State University) on 2 June 2020 as part of the Warburg Institutes online events.

The African American sculptor Eugène Warburg, born into slavery in New Orleans around 1826, was a distant relative of Aby Warburg. This talk carefully traces the sometimes astonishing twists and turns of the European phase of his career (1853-1859). Eugène Warburg’s affiliation with both pro-slavery American diplomats in Paris as well as the leading transatlantic anti-slavery figures of Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Duchess of Sutherland are highlighted. This latter connection resulted in a sculptural representation of a black character from Stowe's second anti-slavery novel, Dred, produced in England in 1856. The presentation concludes with a discussion of Warburg's final years in Italy, and a consideration of where we might find echoes of Warburg’s brief career in later art and literature.

Read a blog about the talk by Bill Sherman, Director of the Warburg Institute.